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Policy: Economy

7.2 percent unemployment, just 148k jobs added is 'solid'?

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Beltway Confidential,Jobs,Ashe Schow,Economy,Unemployment

Pity Jason Furman, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, because he has the difficult job of spinning month after month of mediocre jobs reports.

And it seems he has run out of adjectives.

“While job growth remained solid in September, there is no question that the focus of policy should be on how to achieve a faster pace of job growth by increasing certainty and investing in jobs, rather than the self-inflicted wounds of the past several weeks that increased uncertainty and inhibited job growth,” Furman said.

Notice his favorite word, “solid.”

Furman acknowledged the poor report and suggested that October would probably be worse, saying, “More recent indicators suggest the labor market worsened in the month of October.”

If the October report proves to be worse than the September report, then Americans looking for work are in even more trouble than previously thought.

Employment in September increased by 148,000 jobs and the unemployment rate decreased to 7.2 percent, but there are still 11.3 million unemployed Americans.

Broken down into demographics, the report is a little less depressing:

– Men: 7.1 percent (unchanged from August)

– Women: 6.2 percent (down from 6.3 percent)

– Teens: 21.4 percent (down from 22.7 percent)

– Whites: 6.3 percent (down from 6.4 percent)

– Blacks: 12.9 percent (down from 13 percent)

– Hispanics: 9 percent (down from 9.3 percent)

– Asians: 5.3 percent (up from 5.1 percent)

– Americans with no high school degree: 10.3 percent (down from 11.3 percent)

– Americans with college degree or higher: 3.7 percent (up from 3.5 percent)

There are still 7.9 million Americans working part-time for economic reasons and 852,000 discouraged workers (those not looking for work because they don’t think they will find any).

There are also still 4.1 million Americans who have been unemployed long-term, accounting for 36.9 percent of all unemployed Americans.

Furman needs some words other than “solid” — something like "less government."

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